Twelve Years a Slave
Published in 1853, "Twelve Years a Slave" by Solomon Northup, is a memoir from a slave's perspective set in the pre-Civil War South. "Twelve Years a Slave" is a first-hand account of Solomon Northup, a black man, carpenter and violinist, born free in New York state and living the American Dream. Then, Solomon is duped into travelling to Washington, D.C. where he is kidnapped and sold into slavery against his will, stripped away from his wife and two children. The memoir details Northup's twelve years of bondage in Louisiana on a cotton plantation while searching for his freedom. It shows the horrible circumstances surrounding slave markets in the Deep South, the brutish living conditions of slaves, and early agricultural practices in the United States. In the end, Northup's story shows the resiliency of the human spirit and acts as a cautionary tale, warning future generations about the horrors of slavery.